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Northwest Embraces Local Food Movement

Northwest farmers are some of the most successful in the nation in joining the local food movement. That’s according to a new report from the U-S Department of Agriculture.

Nationally, the study found that local food sales have grown to $5 billion a year. Oregon and Washington have some of the highest rates of local food sales in the country.

The report cites the region’s variety of fresh produce as well as a long-standing tradition of farmers’ markets. But the study notes that the vast majority of local food sales happen through grocery stores and restaurants.

That makes sense to Larry Lev. He’s an Extension economist at Oregon State University.

“When you get to a certain scale, the only way you’re going to move your product through farmers’ markets is if you go to, for example, many farmers’ markets,” Lev says. “And that’s extremely time intensive.”

The USDA study found that fruits and vegetables account for the vast majority of local food sales. Farmers who raise fresh produce are eight times more likely to sell locally than farmers who raise grains or livestock.

On the Web:

USDA report on locally-sold farm products:

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